Eilat terror victims laid to rest 311.
(photo credit: Isrphoto)
In the coming days, as more than a thousand Palestinian political
prisoners are released from Israel’s jails, psychologists working with
victims of terror warn that the images and notion of their freedom could
trigger severe trauma or flashbacks, known as Post-Traumatic Stress
Disorder (PTSD), in some cases.
“These feelings are very complex,
but I am sure this situation could reactivate some of their trauma,”
said clinical psychologist Dr. Eleanor Pardess, a lecturer at Herzliya
Interdisciplinary Center and a volunteer for the non-profit organization
SELAH, which provides a range of supportive services to immigrants that
have experienced any type of trauma.
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to the most recent figures from the National Insurance Institute (NII),
close to 1000 people have been killed and 17,000 injured since the
Second Intifada began in 2000. Since 1950, 2443 people, including 119
non-Israelis, tourists and foreign workers, have been killed in terror
While both the Foreign Ministry and various
non-profit organizations working with terror victims claim the numbers
of those affected directly and indirectly by terrorism in Israel is much
higher than this, what is clear is that this deal has opened many of
the psychological wounds that some have experienced individually and
that have been felt collectively as a nation.
Within days of the announcement that Gilad Schalit was coming home
thanks to a prisoner exchange, many deeply affected by the ongoing
violence warned that the price was too high. On Thursday night, Shvuel
Schijveschuurder, who lost his parents and three of his siblings in the
2001 bombing of the Sbarro pizzeria in Jerusalem, vandalized the Yitzhak
Rabin memorial to show his anger over the deal.
several individuals and the Almagor Terror Victims Association filed a
number of petitions in the High Court of Justice against the release of
certain prisoners who were involved directly in attacks that killed or
maimed multiple people.
“There is now a deep fear that no one is
listening to these people,” observed Pardess, adding that the victims
and their families need understanding and “must not be left to feel like
they have been forgotten.”
“They have to know that what they and
others have been through has not been for nothing,” she said, adding
that there is also the fear factor and the security element.
they see these prisoners being released, it is important for us to
emphasize to them that the government or the state will continue with
its security procedures,” said Pardess.
Professor Danny Brom,
head of the Israel Center for the Treatment of Psychotrauma at Herzog
Hospital, also pointed out that while “the response from the public is
ambivalent, everyone is glad that Gilad is coming home. On the other
hand, people are angry because they fear it could cause deaths of others
in the future.”
“All this is very hard for people who have
suffered as a result of terrorism,” he said, pointing out that it could
cause deep anxiety among those who have suffered attacks.
most people sympathizing with the Schalit family, it is important for
all of us not to forget the bereaved and injured families,” said Ruth
Bar-On, the director of SELAH, which works very closely with hundreds of
bereaved families whose lives have been impacted by terrorism.
must always remember that these people have seen their lives change
significantly and their pain never goes away. It goes with them
everywhere,” she said.